Saint Brigid Religious Education
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West Hartford, CT 06110

Holy Days

Pentecost  Sunday ~ Fifty Days After Easter

The Church celebrates Pentecost (so called because it is fifty days after Easter Day) as the day on which the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles, gathered in an upper room with Mary, mother of Jesus, "as a mighty, rushing wind", fulfilling Jesus' promise when he "breathed on them", as recorded in John's Gospel (chapter 20).

This event, which marks the beginning of the Church, is recorded in the book of Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2.  The Bible says the Spirit descended upon the gathering of Christians in the form of tongues of fire. The liturgical color for Pentecost is red, a reminder of the flames that "rested on them". Another symbol for the Holy Spirit is the dove, usually emitting golden rays of light.

The Holy Spirit gave the apostles gifts of grace through which they would undertake the evangelical mission of the Church. On the day of Pentecost, the apostles were given the miraculous "gift of tongues" so that everyone from every country understood the Christians inspired message of salvation as if the they were hearing it in their own languages. Thousands were converted by the preaching of Peter and the other apostles.

The Solemnity of Pentecost ends the Easter season. After Pentecost, the Easter candle is kept in the baptistery or near the baptismal font, and is lighted only for a baptism. For centuries, the Sundays of the Catholic Church year between Pentecost and Advent were numbered as "after Pentecost". Since the Second Vatican Council, this period is called "Ordinary Time" (the first period of Ordinary Time is that between the Epiphany and Lent). Three Solemnities are celebrated in the weeks immediately following Pentecost: Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi (The Body and Blood of Christ) and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

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